I’m not gonna lie… life right now is tough! I mean, really tough. The sort of tough where you don’t even look forward to bedtime because you know tomorrow will be more of the same. I’ve started measuring my life by hours, not days. Because they’re all the same, and to measure them by the days would just be too depressing.
I think maybe we took Nookie’s acceptance of the new baby for granted. Because suddenly she is NOT happy! And it’s not manifesting itself so much as a resentment of Smushface, as she still obviously adores her. Instead she has become super high-demanding, attached, emotional… every difficult phase she’s ever been through all rolled into one! Suddenly I can’t leave the house again without her, and she doesn’t want to leave either so I’m basically trapped indoors. She won’t speak to other children at all. I’ve stopped taking her to groups because she would spend the whole time refusing to speak to anyone, and not letting me speak to anyone either. When we’re at home all she wants to do is play Minecraft with me, and the second I stop to do anything at all she’s on the verge of a meltdown. Smushface hardly gets a look in. I spend about 6 hours a day most days playing Minecraft – sometimes more.
It’s taking it’s toll on me. The days and weeks roll together into one long fugue of Minecraft, preventing meltdowns, feeding Smushface and housework… because that’s all I ever do. I haven’t seen any friends for weeks. We’ve only really left the house to go food shopping (with the exemption of a couple of family evenings out), and even that required sometimes hours of negotiation and arguing. And on top of all that Smushface has been teething for months now and is constantly unsettled, needing me to rock her for hours most evening and waking up the second I put her down when she’s asleep.
It’s intense. But then that’s always been Nookie – intense. She doesn’t cope with change well. We should have remembered that and anticipated it a bit more.
But still, we’re trying our damnedest to accommodate her. I’ve fallen back on my wonderful supportive friends, if only via Facebook and email, hounded those excellent Radical Unschooling Facebook groups I’m part of with my questions, and received some brilliant suggestions and insights, and I’m reading books to help me understand how to approach things differently. I give Nookie as much time and attention as I can, and try to empathise with her emotional meltdowns. I lean on Hedgehog, and he leans on me. I take a deep breath, and every morning I wake up and do it all again, even though I know it’ll be just the same. I wake up each morning with a smile on my face, kiss my children, and prepare myself for another day of absolute selflessness. And try not to go totally insane…
And remind myself that this too shall pass. And soon (not fucking soon enough!) it’ll be summer again, and Nookie will come out of her cocoon and want to interact with the world again (I HOPE!).